- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - The Latest on closing arguments in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

A defense lawyer tells jurors a former top appointee of Republican Gov. Chris Christie should be acquitted because the government’s main witness can’t be believed.

Jurors are hearing closing arguments Friday in New Jersey in the trial of two former Christie allies charged with causing traffic jams to punish a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Christie.

Bill Baroni’s lawyer says government witness David Wildstein “will do anything” to avoid prison.

Wildstein pleaded guilty and testified against former Christie staffer Bridget Kelly and against Baroni, his former boss at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Attorney Michael Baldassare said in his closing argument that Wildstein’s testimony was contradicted by other witnesses in the trial and that the government is basing its entire case around him.

___

11:55 a.m.

A federal prosecutor says a plot to use traffic gridlock at the George Washington Bridge for political retaliation was “cruel” and “callous.”

Jurors are hearing closing arguments Friday in the trial of two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie charged with closing access lanes to punish a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Christie.

The prosecution is portraying former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and former bridge authority executive Bill Baroni as willing participants in the scheme.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Cortes says the defendants had an “intense commitment” to Christie’s political success and felt they could use their positions to retaliate against the mayor and try to cover it up by saying it was a traffic study.

Both testified they believed it was a legitimate traffic study.

___

10:15 a.m.

Jurors are hearing closing arguments in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case.

Two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie are charged with closing bridge access lanes to punish a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Christie.

The prosecution began Friday by summarizing its case against former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and former bridge authority executive Bill Baroni.

Jurors were shown a screen displaying Kelly’s infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email from a month before the September 2013 lane closures.

Kelly and Baroni testified they believed the lane closures were part of a legitimate traffic study conceived by former Port Authority official David Wildstein, who has pleaded guilty.

Wildstein testified both defendants were active participants in the political revenge plot.

___

12:20 a.m.

For the second day in a row, jurors in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case will gather on Friday to hear closing arguments.

They were scheduled to hear from attorneys on Thursday, but the judge said an unspecified legal issue had come up. Jurors were told to return on Friday.

Two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie are on trial on charges they closed access lanes for four days in September 2013 to punish a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Christie.

Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni both claim they thought it was part of a legitimate traffic study conceived by a bridge authority official who has since pleaded guilty.

The most serious charge they face, wire fraud conspiracy, carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

The trial is in its sixth week.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide